Friday, January 27, 2012
continued from 1-26-12
He slept soundly, rudely awakened by his alarm. John hit the snooze button twice before getting up. He could barely remember his experience of last night, and was surprised by his fatigue, having just slept nine hours. John drank two cups of coffee while watching the cold rain fall in the alley outside his window. He watched as a rat scurried out from under an over-stuffed black trash bag to a pile of graying wooden pallets. He had to forgo his usual breakfast, as time had slipped away from him. After showering, he donned his rain parka and hit the streets on his scooter.
Yawning, he clocked in to work, scarfed down a muffin, and headed for the front. He was fifteen minutes late. Emma wasn’t there. Sunday mornings were the slowest, so Emma had the day off. John had the pleasure of working side by side with Connie.
“I’ll need to speak with you after your shift,” she said, looking him directly in the eye.
“Oh, ok, sure," he said. Must be about that big promotion I’ve been striving for, he thought, jokingly.
The day dragged by unmercifully. A few surly customers came and went. John repeatedly mopped the floor, wet from the rain tracked in by the patron’s soggy footwear. Connie’s mood was more grim than usual. John cleaned the counters, Connie took inventory, and the next two “Café Gurus” arrived for their shift.
John headed to clock out, scooting by Connie as she counted boxes of paper cups and coffee filters. She didn’t say a thing as he put on his poncho, swiped his card and headed into the evening.
The ride home was miserable. He had forgotten his gloves. The rain had stopped, but the temperature had dropped by twenty degrees. Gloves or no gloves, riding a scooter in thirty five degree weather was brutal, in John’s opinion. It would be the bus tomorrow. Scaling the steps to his apartment, he thought about missing out on his little meeting with Connie. He needed to be careful. As much as he was beginning to despise his job, he needed to keep it even more so. He ate a meager dinner, his appetite anemic, despite the cold. He turned on the electric space heater, sat in front of the TV and watched three sitcoms back to back. He found himself nodding off as the TV droned on nonsensically in the dark. Switching off the set, he headed for the comfort of his bed. Not caring about the early hour, he fell fast asleep.
Seemingly within an instant, John found himself back at work. Emma smiled at him. It was a very different smile, a seductive smile. She motioned for him to follow her, as she walked out of the coffee house onto the streets of
. John followed. They were no longer dressed in their work clothes. She wore a fitted teal t-shirt and tight black jeans with white stitching, her feet wrapped in teal leather pumps. John didn’t know what he was wearing, and didn’t care. I’m dreaming! He realized. She took his hand as they strolled through the city. Late afternoon turned to evening .The couple ending up at Cicerella’s Bistro, dining on the patio. As the evening unfolded, John could still recognize that this was just a dream, but it became more real with each passing moment. There were no jumps in time or confusing imagery as in most dreams; no distorted or miss-remembered locations. He soon let himself go and came into himself in the dream, no longer a casual observer. Chicago
Emma looked deep into his eyes. She pushed up from her chair and lightly kissed him on the lips. He reached out and touched her arm and returned the kiss, pressing harder. She broke free and whispered “I love you” into his ear, her breath as warm and gentle as a summer’s breeze. Dazed, John became aware of another voice.
“Sir, the check. Would the lady or yourself be interested in a dessert?” asked the waiter.
“No, we should probably be on our way, we have a show to catch,” said John, opening his wallet and finding a dozen hundred dollar bills there.
A siren blared as he paid the bill, leaving a hundred dollar tip on the wrought iron table. An ambulance pulled up to the curb, siren shrill.
John quickly became awake, shutting off the alarm. He wanted to go back to sleep, continue the dream, but was too excited by what he had just experienced. It had all seemed so real, but more than that, it was different than any dream John had ever experienced. He had decided the course of action, but yet again, he hadn’t, completely. When he knew he needed money, he had it. When he had longed for Emma’s kiss, she responded. He remembered nearly every detail. He lay in bed contemplating what had just transpired. Calming down, it occurred to him that he was not scheduled for work today, or tomorrow.
John dressed without showering. He skipped his morning coffee; he didn’t need it. He was still riding high on his evening’s adventure. He threw on his wool jacket and tromped down the stairs. Catching the bus, he rode to the nearest branch library. Once inside, John looked up “Lucid Dreaming, the Healthy Escape.” It wasn’t available yet. Of course not, it’s just been released. John entered “Lucid Dreaming” into the computer database. Ten different books covering the subject appeared. John jotted down the information on the four most recent publications and proceeded to pull them off the shelves. He sat in a gloomy corner of the library at a study desk and began searching through the pages.
John could not find a description or documented instance of lucid dreaming that compared to his. All accounts spoke of an awareness by the dreamer, but none spoke of a near complete control of the dreamscape, as he had experienced it. Neither was there any mention of the feeling of a sense of reality; on the contrary, most accounts stated that the subject was very aware that they were in a dream. However, what he did find was information in one specific book on LDS, or Lucid Dream Supplements, that can increase and strengthen LD episodes. John photocopied the names of the various supplements, a litany of chemicals including galantamine, calea zacatechichi and silene capsensis, among others. Returning the books to their rightful places, he left for the bus stop.
It was late afternoon, and John was back in his tiny apartment. He thought of leaving soon and heading to a health and nutrition store, hoping to find the LD Supplements, but a numbing fatigue had begun to settle over him. Confused by his exhausted state, he soon abandoned any idea of going out. Instead, he lay on his bed, still in his wool jacket and drifted into sleep.
John and Emma were together in a taxi, but then no, it was a limousine, pulling up to the Oriental Theatre. The chauffer stepped out into the evening drizzle and opened the door for them with much fanfare. The couple hurried in out of the rain, laughing as they did so. The theatre was fantastic; plaster gold leafed dragons adorned the walls amid elaborate moldings. Asian frescos loomed majestically overhead. They took their seats as the play was about to begin, although John hadn’t decided what it would be yet. Emma was more beautiful than ever in a white strapless sequined gown; John dressed in black suit and white tie. He heard the muffled ring of his cell phone. He took it out of his pants pocket, saw that it was Connie calling, and shut it off. The lights dimmed as the curtain rose.
John’s apartment phone was ringing, but he slept on. The answering machine took the call.
“John, this is Connie. If you’re not in here in the next twenty minutes, don’t bother coming in at all. This can’t continue. If you’re not in here shortly, you’re fired.”
John’s breathing was steady and shallow. He lay completely immobile. The day passed from morning to evening to morning again.
to be continued next post...